Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Republicans lead "pork" spending lists: report

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress, trying to appear frugal with taxpayer dollars this election year, found on Wednesday that some in their own ranks topped a list of "pork" spenders in a watchdog group's analysis of government waste.

The annual survey by Citizens Against Government Waste claims that 11,610 special-interest projects were stuffed into spending bills approved by the Democratic-led Congress last year at a $17.2 billion cost to taxpayers.

But according to the survey, it was individual Republicans who pushed the most "pork" last year. In addition, the three House of Representative Republicans who sponsored legislation calling for a moratorium on such spending all engaged in the practice, the report said. They are Jack Kingston of Georgia, Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Frank Wolf of Virginia.

For months, House Republican Leader John Boehner has been leading a crusade against such projects, known as "earmarks," which routinely benefit lawmakers' hometown districts.

Boehner, of Ohio, has called for suspending "pork" spending this year and has criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, for not yet agreeing to do so.

On Tuesday, House Republicans tried and failed to advance their earmark moratorium. Last month, the Senate overwhelmingly rejected a similar proposal.

House Republicans have attacked Democratic Rep. John Murtha for delivering a pile of special-interest funds to his western Pennsylvania district.

But according to the report, two House Republicans bested Murtha: Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who recently became a U.S. senator, and Rep. Bill Young of Florida. The two scored $176.3 million and $169.5 million in earmarks respectively, beating Murtha's $159.1 million...[Open in new window]


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